According tomedia CNET, the news of the “killing bumblebee” invasion of the United States may feel like a horror movie, but the insect is considered a delicacy in Japan. The Asian-based bumblebee is described as 1.5 inches to 2 inches long, with an orange-yellow head and black stripes on its abdomen. Its stings are long enough to pierce the beekeeper’s protective clothing, killing at least 50 people each year in Japan alone.
The recent discovery of the macbees in the Pacific Northwest, particularly washington, does not mean that the region’s inhabitants are doomed to suffer. Asian bumblebees are considered a delicacy in their native Japan. People living in central Japan are reported to enjoy “killing bumblebees” — they hold a wasp food festival every year.
According to a report in the New York Times on Tuesday, the “killing bumblebee” has a crisp taste and “eats a warm, tingling feeling.” It’s worth noting that eating insects is nothing new. Insects have been eaten for centuries. Japanese people often steam the larvae and rice of Asian bumblebee together to make a traditional dish — hebo-gohan (or hachinoko gohan). Chefs even put dead Asian bumblebees (including thorns) on kebabs and roasted them with hot charcoal.
These bumblebees are not only an interesting snack, but also used for winemaking. Japanese people drown live Asian horse bees (and sometimes wasps) in sizzing wine. When bumblebees drown, they release venom. The mixture is sealed in a container and fermented for several years until the wine turns dark amber. This dilutes the venom so that future drinkers will not be taken to hospital.
Mixing “Killing Bumblebee” with cocktails is a great way to drink. A bee-themed bar called “Suzumebachi” in Fukuoka, Japan, is served with bumblebee wine to locals and visitors alike. According to a reporter who tried on the wasp wine, the wine “tastes very light”.
While Japanese foodies may prefer to find “kill bumblebees” nests for snacks and cocktails, it’s worth noting that the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) doesn’t advocate proximity to these deadly pests, which were officially discovered in Washington state last December.
WSDA warns that “extreme caution should be exercised near Asian bumblebees”. Asian bumblebees have longer stings than bees, and the venom is more toxic than any local bee or wasp. If you find a bee swarm, don’t try to clear or destroy it. Report immediately to the WSDA (or the local state’s agricultural sector). “